Let’s Hear It For Lithuania!
One of the really, really cheering and cheer-able things that has happened
this past 20 yrs has been the independence of the three Baltic states,
Lithuania, Latvia & Estonia. All three were independent between the wars,
then got comprehensively raped by Nazis and Soviets in turn, ending up under
Soviet control. (Cold-War-era Estonian joke: “We are the biggest country
in the world. Our coastline’s on the Baltic, our capital is Moscow, and our
population’s in Siberia!”) The loneliest man in London in the mid-1980s was
the aging representative of free Lithuania, who had hung on somehow in some
quasi-official capacity, and busied himself writing folorn letters to
newspapers arguing his country’s case.
Well, now these countries are free again, and their politics is very lively.
Two of them have North American presidents: Latvia (a Canadian professor)
and Lithuania (former US federal bureaucrat). Lithuania, which consistently
polls as the most pro-American country in Europe, has a presidential
election coming up this weekend. There are 17 candidates, including:
—That former federal bureaucrat (the current favorite)
—The son of a senior KGB officer
—A stunt pilot
—Two brothers (running for different parties)
—A TV comedian who also has a Ph.D. in Economics
Lithuania is one of only two European countries to have direct elections for
President, the other being France. Good luck, happy election, and a very
merry Christmas to the people of free Lithuania!